LINDSTROM, Minn. (WCCO) — A Minnesota community is mourning two women who died from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning in a home north of the Twin Cities.
Officers found the bodies of 53-year-old Lisa Kantorowicz and 56-year-old Cheryl Adams inside their home on Sylvan Avenue in Lindstrom on Monday. The women hadn’t been heard from since Thursday.
It’s tragic and rare in the town of Lindstrom. Lakes Area Police Chief Kevin Stenson said in his 25 years on the job, this is the only fatal carbon monoxide poisoning he can remember.
One of the women who lived in the home had called into work sick last Thursday saying she had flu-like symptoms. But when she didn’t show up for work on Friday or Monday, that’s when an officer stopped by and made the tragic discovery.
“It’s really hard to believe,” neighbor Helen Goodroad said.
Goodroad knew something was wrong when she noticed her neighbors hadn’t checked their mail in a few days.
“We did. And then we saw all the commotion out here and realized something had went wrong,” she said.
A Lakes Area Police officer found Kantorowicz and Adams dead inside their home. The officers found that the house had extreme levels of carbon monoxide. Their dog was also dead.
“I kind of went into shock. I had no idea,” neighbor Beverly Johnson said.
“It’s terrible to lose anyone in our community,” Stenson said.
Stenson said the home’s furnace exhaust pipe had frozen over and was plugged up with soot and Ice. Kantorowicz and Adams didn’t have a carbon monoxide OR smoke detector.
“According to the firefighter I spoke to, he registered lethal levels while still outside the home,” Stenson said.
Goodroad said she hadn’t used her carbon monoxide detector in years, until Tuesday.
“I went and plugged it in now. I hadn’t had it plugged in,” she said.
The couple’s death is a tragedy for this small Minnesota town, but a lesson to all home owners.
“A $30 carbon monoxide detector can save a community this grief and this tragedy,” Stenson said.
Autopsy results will confirm investigators suspicion that the women died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
The officer that made the house call to check on the couple was actually treated at a local hospital after he started having symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, but he was released and is OK.
Police said that’s very possible that the poisoning started when one of the women called into work sick last Thursday. Symptoms can mimic the flu and come on suddenly — everything from a headache and weakness to nausea and vomiting.
That’s why again it’s so important to not only make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector, but to check it regularly to make sure it’s working properly.